The ongoing Senate screening for ministerial nominees has been throwing up some revelations and controversies about the quality of candidates and any screening initially done by the security agencies.
The nominee from Sokoto state, Bello Muhammed was grilled by Allwell Onyesoh, the senator representing Rivers East constituency on why he had only two credits from his Senior School Certificate Examination (SSCE) and how he was able to gain admission to the University with just two credits!
During the screening, Onyesoh pointed this out with the statement:
“I have been looking for your school certificate. I saw one. You sat for five subjects, but you have just two credits,”
“I don’t know how. I want to imagine that you still have another (SSCE result) to bring. If not, I would want you to explain how you got into university with that (two credits)”.
However, Muhammed countered this by saying he passed all subjects but did not attach his results to his Curriculum Vitae because the requirement asked for secondary school certificate!
He also went ahead to remind Senator Onyesoh that according to the Nigerian Constitution only a secondary school certificate is required to stand for election even at the presidential level.
The drama continued with Senate President, Godswill Akpabio interjecting and stating that there is a difference between standing for election and a ministerial nominee. He said Muhmmed cannot chose to conceal any certificate if he is coming to be screened to be a minister of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
Here is part of Akpabio’s statements:
“You are saying that you chose what to give to the senate. You chose the qualification to bring before the senate because of the constitutional provision that a secondary school certificate is what is required to stand for election”.
“You are not coming to stand for election, you’re coming to be a minister of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. So, which are the other certificates you concealed? Which are the other certificates you did not put in your CV?”
Muhammed insisted that he sat for another examination and passed but he did not want to attach the qualification.
The Senate President then insisted that Muhammed resubmit all his certificates to the House Clerk and added that all nominees must present all their certificates including the number of houses and children they have.
Another nominee, Joseph Utsev from Benue State was also grilled by Senator Tokunbo Abiru, on how he spent nine years for his bachelors degree. The normal duration for a bachelors degree in Nigeria is between 4-6 years depending on the course of study. Utsev attributed his long sojourn in the University to industrial action embarked by lecturers belonging to the Academic Staff Union Of Universities (ASUU).